Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Kasetsart University denies freshman almost drowned during orientation ‘swimming test’

Sep 11. 2016
A freshman almost drowned in this large pond at Kasetsart University
A freshman almost drowned in this large pond at Kasetsart University
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By THE NATION

KASETSART UNIVERSITY yesterday denied that one of its freshmen was forced during an orientation rite to dive into a wastewater treatment pond, resulting in the young man ending up in a hospital intensive care unit.
Dr Chongrak Wachrinrat, acting rector of the university, said he would set up a committee to investigate the incident in which the freshman of the International Maritime College’s Sri Racha campus almost drowned. He is now being treated for a lung infection at Chon Buri Hospital.
The incident has been widely discussed on social media, especially among Facebook users, with claims that Chokchai Thongnuakhao, 19, was forced by older students at the college to dive into a wastewater treatment pond until he became unconscious and almost drowned.
The boy’s father, Amporn Thongnuakhao, 54, said: “I would like to tell the rector of the university and the dean of the faculty that this was a very bad incident. “I would like to call on the Prime Minister and the Education minister to pay attention to student orientation activities. The activity should have been more constructive.”
The father added that his son’s condition was improving but it was unclear how serious his brain damage was.
“I could not accept it when I was informed on the phone that my son almost drowned. I thought it would have been safe in the university’s compound,” he said.
Chon Buri Hospital director Doctor Chutidej Tab-ongkharak said an unconscious Chokechai was admitted to his hospital at about 9pm on Thursday. Doctors attached the 19-year-old to a respiratory machine in intensive care and have given him antibiotics and sedatives in a bid to stop him “rejecting” the respiratory machine.
Chongrak said he was preliminarily informed about the incident on Saturday night and he immediately assigned Dr Korchoke Chanthar-angkura to visit the student and provide assistance to his family and remain in close contact with the family.
Chongrak said the incident was not the result of an orientation activity but was part of an activity in which senior students, who shared the same student codes, were introduced to freshmen. 
He said the pond was used for learning activities which were always closely supervised by lecturers of the college.
“It “is not a wastewater treatment pond or chemical pond as shared on social media. It’s a pond for trapping rainwater for use for learning because students of this faculty have to carry out marine activities,” the acting rector said.
Dr Korchoke affirmed that the activity was not an orientation rite but was held to test students’ physical and mental strength to find out how they would cope with activity at sea.

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